|RM600 mil bonus: Discrimination against SarawakMalaysiakini report|
|Omitting Sarawak from the additional RM600 million allocated for rural development under the Ninth Malaysia Plan is a ‘blatant discrimination’, said Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang.Lim said the extra funds were also in contempt of both the cabinet and the Parliament, which should have been the first and final body respectively to approve the disbursement of the funds, but were left oblivious of the matter.
“The instant allocation of RM3 million for minor contract works at the disposal of each Umno division in the country… in order to ‘buy’ Umno delegate support at the Umno general assembly is nothing less than political corruption of the worst kind,” said Lim at a DAP function in Bintulu on Saturday.
Lim said it was ‘sad and tragic’ that Abdullah, who had won a landslide victory in the 2004 general election on a pledge to root out corruption, would himself involved in such an act.
“[This demonstrates] that he has lost the ability to differentiate between public funds and political party purposes and between right and wrong,” said Lim.
Contract for ‘Umno people’
On Nov 13, the eve of the Umno general assembly, Abdullah announced that an additional RM600 million has been approved to spearhead development in the rural areas.
The premier had said the additional allocation was meant to top up the RM1.5 billion disbursed under the 9MP, announced in May, for rural development, which he claimed had already ran dry.
Government leaders later said the funds would rejuvenate the Class-F contractors while an official letter revealed the money would only be spent in the Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
The letter by from Deputy Works Minister Mohd Zin Mohammad also stated the money was to be allocated for 191 Parliamentary divisions, excluding Sarawak, at RM3 million each and must be spent by year end.
There are only 191 Umno divisions throughout Malaysia.
When contacted, several Umno division chief confirmed that they had compiled a list of Class-F contractors to be forwarded to the district officer, who will ultimately choose those suitable for small projects costing between RM20,000 to RM200,000.
Umno Labis division chief Sulaiman Taha meanwhile told malaysiakini that the contracts being awarded in his division would only be for ‘Umno people’.
On Dec 11, the Finance Ministry had in Parliament denied Lim’s claim that the RM600 million would be channeled in to the pockets of Umno leaders.